APTOS — Though the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States were 18 years ago, memories of those that perished were very much present Wednesday across the country.
Locally, emergency workers and military personnel held a number of remembrance ceremonies, including a large group in Aptos.
Following several tunes on bagpipes, scores of firefighters, garbed in their cumbersome turnouts, boots and helmets, climbed up and down a lengthy wood staircase at Seacliff State Beach — a symbolic gesture of the emergency crews that rushed into the World Trade Towers and raced up the stairs to rescue victims. The collapsing towers and other related events of the attacks claimed the lives of 343 firefighters and 60 law enforcement personnel. The attacks by the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda killed 2,996 people, injured more than 6,000 and caused at least $10 billion in infrastructure and property damage.
Aptos/La Selva firefighter Steve Vratry said he helped spearhead the event to pay respect to fellow emergency responders.
“It’s never too late to do the right thing,” he said. “We must never forget to honor those that died.”
Vratry said the remembrance was inspired by a local bagpipe player Kasie Talbot, who he heard play at a similar event.
“She was the spark that started this whole thing,” he said.
Those climbing the stairs completed at least 13 up and down laps, but others chose to continue until they